IPL: All You Need To Know

Answering some of the most commonly asked questions about going through IPL treatment.
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If you have been following along on Instagram, you would be aware of the 6-weekly appointments at Absolute Cosmetic Medicine that I have been going to. For close to a year now, they have been taking care of my IPL treatment on my underarms and bikini (I was doing legs too, but more on that later).

Almost every time I go in, I get a barrage of questions from followers on Instagram; so I thought that now I am on the home stretch with my treatment, I would answer some of the most common questions all in the one spot.

So, here we go!

Why did you decide to get IPL?

My decision to get IPL was personal preference. I have no problems what-so-ever with women having body hair, but I personally prefer to not have any.

From a young age, I was dancing in tiny costumes. As I got older, the costumes got even smaller and the desire to be hair free really kicked in. Now, I spend a lot of time in a bikini and I just prefer to not have to worry about grooming to stay in the lines.

I also spend a fair bit of time at the gym, and being hair free is important to me. On average, I shower 2-3 times per day because I am really pedantic about cleanliness. Being hair free plays in to that a lot as well as I just feel cleaner when there is no hair to worry about.

Does it hurt?

The amount of pain you experience is dependent on a number of variables. How strong is the light your technician is using? How dark is your skin? What areas are you getting the IPL treatment? What is your pain threshold like?

The easiest way for me to answer this is to say it is uncomfortable. But, it is over in a flash (quite literally). If you want the best results, you have to make sure the machine is turned up a reasonable amount. If you don’t feel anything, it isn’t doing it’s job. The sensation ranges from a hot little flash, to something more like someone flicking a hot elastic band at your skin.

In a nutshell: you will feel it but it isn’t excruciating. I happen to think that getting a brazilian is more painful than the IPL. The pain from waxing lingers longer (and leaves you red) because it is a much rougher method of hair removal. The area they cover in one rip is a lot bigger too. If you go to a good IPL technician they will make sure that they balance the strength and your comfort.

If you are worried about the pain, you can always try and use a bit of numbing cream; although I am not sure how effective it would be.

How much does it cost?

Again, there is no concise answer for this question. Cost is dependent on what area you are getting treated, who you go to and if they have special ‘bundle’ pricing for multiple treatment areas.

You can find Scoopon deals and the like that offer cheap IPL packages, but I advise against buying them. Unless you know that the clinic is reputable and uses a high grade machine, you could end up stitching yourself up. I have had a few IPL sessions at a cheaper salon and it was awful – from the experience through to the results. It just didn’t feel professional, and the difference in results between this salon and the one I am at now is incredible.

Thankfully, I have had a much better experience with Absolute Cosmetic Medicine. Treatments start from $37.50 a session, but as you get up to the bigger, trickier areas, the prices go up. It may be a little more costly per session in comparison to waxing, but you won’t have to go back every 4 weeks for the rest of your life! It is definitely cheaper in the long run.

Did it work?

I will preface this answer with 2 things:

– I am still being treated
– All good IPL technicians will tell you that IPL permanently reduces hair, not necessarily permanently removes it.

Now, IPL is more effective on some than others. Earlier, I mentioned I had started getting my legs done along with my brazilian and underarms. After about 2 sessions on my legs, myself and the technician made a decision to stop treating them because I was just too tanned.

IPL works best on people with fair skin and dark, coarse hair. Because my skin is quite pigmented and what is left of my leg hair is quite fine and light, it would have been silly to keep going. The skin on my legs soaks up the light before the hair does, so it is just painful and non-effective. In saying that, I do definitely have a good reduction in hair on my legs and you wouldn’t even be able to see if I didn’t shave for a few weeks.

As for my underarms and brazilian? Well, sort of the same thing. I am not permanently hair free anywhere. There are still a few little whispies that grow in my pits, and my lady garden isn’t clear pastures. In good news, there are only a tiny few hairs left on the sides and top of my bikini line. We shall see what the next treatment brings!

Are you happy with it?

Despite not being 100% hair free, I couldn’t be happier with the results. I know that with my skin tone and fine, light coloured hair it makes it harder for me to be permanently hair free – and I am fine with that.

Some people hit the jackpot and can get rid of it all forever, but others can be happy in knowing that a considerably less amount of effort is needed when if comes grooming time.

Overall, I definitely think IPL is worth the time, effort and money. Eliminating the 4-weekly waxing appointments and all the ingrown hairs has been absolutely amazing. Not to mention never having to worry about when my waxing appointment falls vs. when I will be on holiday!

If you have any other questions about IPL, feel free to ask me below!

** written in collaboration with Absolute Cosmetic Medicine. I have been working with a very well trained and knowledgable technician so as to make sure all details are acurate. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.